Miguel Duhamel wins fourth Daytona 200

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (March 10, 2003) ? Canadian Miguel Duhamel edged out his Honda teammates Ben Bostrom and Kurtis Roberts to capture the 62nd Daytona 200 By Arai on Monday at Daytona International Speedway.

Bostrom, Roberts and Duhamel, all riding factory Honda RC51s, were running nose-to-tail in the final laps of the 57-lap race.

On the final lap exiting the chicane, the 34-year-old Duhamel passed Roberts in NASCAR Turn 3 and then ducked underneath Bostrom coming out of NASCAR Turn 4 to nip him at the start/finish line by a tire.

Miguel Duhamel.
Photo by Dave Gallegos.

The margin of victory was .069 seconds.

"It looked like I was getting Ben, but I was fearing for Kurtis to come around and get our double draft," Duhamel said. "When I finally crossed the line and won, 'I was like holy cow, I just won again.' I was so happy. It's so hard to win this race. It's just so hard and I'm so pleased."

Bostrom, who was competing in his first race back in the United States after three seasons overseas in World Superbike, was a sitting duck leading coming out of the chicane and did all he could to fend off his Honda teammates.

"I thought they were right behind me, so I downshifted into first to try and throw them off a little bit," said Bostrom about his entry into the chicane. "Then I really tried to accelerate and get a good drive on the exit there. We didn't have much tire left.

"It just didn't pan out. The guys rode really well and set me up perfectly. If I had to take it over I'd just try and get through it the best I could and get a little more engine speed and hope that would give us a couple thousands to win this thing."

Duhamel's fourth Daytona 200 victory puts him second on the wins list behind Scott Russell's five victories. Duhamel's average race speed of 113.839 mph eclipsed the previous record of 113.631 mph set by Mat Mladin in 2000.

Honda's sweep of the podium is the first time a motorcycle manufacturer has swept the top three finishing positions of the Daytona 200 since 1985 when Honda riders Freddie Spencer, Wes Cooley and Jeff Haney landed on the podium.

Another rider celebrating a victory of his own was Rick Shaw, who after completing Lap 2 broke the Daytona 200 mileage record formerly held by Warren Sherwood.

"It was an exciting lap," said Shaw, whose first Daytona 200 was in 1981 and now has turned 3,365.48 miles. "I felt it. Finally, the weight was lifted off me after the second lap and I could go out and race. I put some much pressure on myself to get this done."

The top finishing privateer in the Daytona 200 was Floridian Michael Barnes, who came home in eighth-position aboard the No. 34 Suzuki.

Genuine Suzuki Accessories Superstock: Tommy Hayden, riding the No. 22 Kawasaki, nipped Lee Acree at the checkered flag by .009-second to capture his first victory at Daytona.

Hayden threw out the theory of being a sitting duck when leading out of the chicane as he was able to hold off Acree at the start/finish line in what was a thrilling Superstock race.

"I knew it would be close," Hayden said.

Said Acree: "I thought I got him, but that's not what the screen said when I got back around."

Rounding out the podium was Eric Wood aboard a Suzuki.

The victory was Hayden's first at Daytona. His brother Nicky Hayden captured the 2002 Daytona 200 By Arai.

Motorcycles return to Daytona International Speedway for Fall Cycle Scene on Oct. 16-19. For tickets and more information, log on to http://www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or call the Speedway ticket office at (386) 253-7223.